Pastor's Letter - September 23, 2018

People have long recognized that the books of the Old Testament have different styles. Usually they are put in one of three categories: historical books, like the books of Genesis and Exodus, which present a narrative story; prophetic books, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, which record the teaching of the prophets; and the wisdom books, like Proverbs and the book of Wisdom, which contain instructions on how one should live. These categories indicate general tendencies, not hard and fast rules. In other words, you will still find prophetic teaching and moral exhortations in the historical books of the Old Testament. The New Testament books don’t quite fit the same categories. Nevertheless, the book of James (from which today’s second reading is taken) is a type of wisdom book. James contains a great deal of moral instruction. In today’s reading St. James reminds us of the connection between unrighteousness (jealousy and selfish ambition) and disorder and foul practices. And on the other hand, he notes the natural connection of righteous living and peace. While it is true that our Christian faith is not simply a set of moral laws, living a morally upright life is a necessary element. The happiness of a society (the family, town, state, nation) depends upon its people being formed by solid moral instruction. We have ample evidence in our society (and in our own families!) of the profound negative effects which occur when we disregard God’s moral law. We receive this instruction through God’s Word found in the Sacred Scriptures, and through His Church. Why not take some time today and read the entire Letter of St. James? It’s not that long, and it contains great wisdom.

You should receive in the mail this week your letter from Bishop Callahan along with information and pledge card for the Diocesan Annual Appeal. I hope that everyone will give generously to the DAA. The amount that you give is not as important as the fact that you do give. When we meet, and surpass, our goal, we not only help fund many important works of the Church (Catholic Charities, support for retired priests, seminarian education, etc.), but every dollar by which we exceed our target comes back to us for our own parish needs. I already made my pledge! I hope you’ll join me!

May God bless you! Fr. Schaller